Cleveland holds final public meeting of the year to discuss the future of lakefront

Published: Nov. 29, 2022 at 10:29 PM EST
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - On Tuesday the city held the final debate of the year to determine the future of Cleveland’s lakefront.

It’s been a hot topic for more than a century in Cleveland and Tuesday was the last public meeting until 2023 to discuss the potential plans for the downtown North Coast shoreline.

Mayor Justin Bibb said Cleveland has turned its back on our biggest asset for too long.

“I love the lakefront,” said resident Halloe Robinson. “It’s a jewel for the city of Cleveland and I’m just excited that we’re finally starting to realize this, that we can have things in Cleveland that they have in other cities. People drive hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of miles to experience those things in other places, we can have those experiences here in Cleveland.”

The hope is to make it easier for everyone to safely access our lakefront. A major part of that is the North Coast Connector Plan.

It’s a proposed land bridge that would connect the grassy lawns of Mall C and city hall to the lakefront over by First Energy Stadium, the Rock Hall, and the Science Center area.

“I think now’s our chance to grab that opportunity,” said resident Phil Wolter. “This is a real opportunity to reconnect us with the water.”

Tuesday was the last of a series of meetings in 2022 to get public input on the project. The land bridge would run over the railroad tracks and the Shoreway to make it easier for people to get to the lakefront. It would also open up new land for community gatherings and future economic development, but what exactly will that look like? We don’t know yet. Some residents say they need more information before deciding which direction to go.

“It depends on what option we choose,” said resident Patricia Antoine. “Some of the options don’t indicate a lot of things and then they’ll tell us this hasn’t been confirmed yet so there’s still a lot of questions, a lot of things up in the air.”

The overall goal is to give everyone in the community more access to all 14 miles of the lake.

“We’re definitely excited to see more attractions downtown, more opportunities for greenspace and activities,” said Wolter.

“We definitely need to take advantage of it,” agreed Antoine. “It’s just how we come up with the plan that’s important.”

There is also another separate study happening right now to look at Burke Lakefront Airport. The city is looking at its economic impact to decide if that land could be put to better use.

19 News asked how long this process will take, and project managers tell us that by the end of 2023 they’re hoping to have an idea of what direction they’re going with this project.